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Digital future: Connecting a billion people today to billions of devices tomorrow

Today, there is a profound shift emerging in the Indian telecom industry. In the last 25 years, the telecom sector has not only been pivotal in leading India’s economic success but has also completely transformed the social landscape of the country – from mobile phone being an accessory of the affluent to becoming an essential tool for development. Even though we were 5-7 years behind the world when the first GSM call was made, today we are poised to launch 5G as it is rolled-out in rest of the world. With over 1 billion people connected in the last two decades, India is aiming to connect over a trillion devices.

In 25 years, India has come a long way from the first 11 base stations established in Kolkata to over 1.5 million base stations spread across the country now. Telecom-centric technology is now accessible and affordable more than ever as the cost of deploying base-stations has vastly reduced. 1.2 billion subscribers in India have access to free unlimited voice calls every month which is a remarkable progress from `18 per minute for a call. And with the advent of 3G and 4G, India is already amongst the leading data-consuming nations today with more than 7000 peta-bytes of data consumption per month. Telecom has also emerged as a sunshine sector for India by generating employment for over 4 million people. The sector has also played a key role in keeping the economic engines ON amidst the pandemic

Nokia has been an integral part of this digital transformation journey of India. From the first GSM call in India on a Nokia 2110 handset over a Nokia network, today every single call in the country touches a Nokia element somewhere in a complete call flow.

When it comes to new-age technologies, Nokia is supporting India’s largest VoLTE subscriber base and running the biggest cloud-based packet network. We have undertaken India’s largest deployment of massive-MIMO and Dynamic Spectrum Refarming (DSR). Our service delivery machinery is deploying over 5000 base stations per month. Our strategic partnerships with the operators is helping address the burgeoning demand for connectivity, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our belief in India’s potential as a global manufacturing hub enabled us to make the shift from importing 100 percent of our equipment to exporting 50 percent of our India-manufactured equipment to over 100 countries.

Today, India is one of Nokia’s key hubs for managing 5G deployments in addition to managing 120 networks globally. Our R&D center in Bangalore is undertaking research in various advanced global telecommunication technologies.

As we enter a new era of technological advancement with 5G, the pace of transformation will increase multifold. 5G will power a fully connected world with billions of devices via enhanced mobile broadband in real time to enable a number of real-life use cases. The robots will automate repetitive jobs at Industry 4.0 factories, leading to an upswing in production efficiency by 20 percent to 30 percent.

According to the World Health Organization, road traffic crashes are a cause of nearly 1.35 million fatalities globally. 5G will make autonomous driving a reality to significantly reduce road traffic and accidents by providing traffic information. As the foundation of a modern healthcare service, 5G will help save lives through high-resolution video consultations, telesurgery etc., allowing specialists in one hospital to control equipment in another facility hundreds of miles away. Smart agriculture is another leading use case for India that will improve to improve crop yields through soil sensors and airborne cameras to identify soil, water, and pesticide usage requirements remotely. Recently, Nokia and Vodafone India Foundation, the CSR arm of Vi, announced the deployment a smart agriculture solution that aims to improve the productivity of 50,000 farmers in the state of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

5G will also give wings to coming-of-age technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality; creating an immersive entertainment experience for people attending concerts or sports events from their home

With such tremendous transformational potential, 5G readiness is now a priority for operators and enterprises worldwide. In India, with the spectrum auctions expected soon now, we remain optimistic that India will be at par with the world when it comes to 5G deployments. Sustainable pricing of the spectrum will play a key role in accelerating the growth of 5G in India, supported by a stable policy and regulatory landscape.

We are excited and thrilled to witness India’s digital journey unfold as we create a digital backbone by transforming legacy networks into future-ready, agile networks.

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